Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3373 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the industrial relations process is available to the two parties to this agreement, the hospital and the Nursing Federation, but I re-emphasise that this Government is interested in delivering the best possible deal it can for the nurses in the wards and Mr Berry finds it hard to understand, given where he comes from in politics, that a secret ballot conducted by the Electoral Commission is a fair and reasonable way of allowing nurses to decide for themselves whether they want to go along with the proposal.
MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care, Mr Moore. Minister, you are no doubt aware that two or three years ago a sobering-up shelter was established to care for people with alcohol problems and to steer these people away from police watch-houses. As I recall, the shelter was open for about a year and closed following an unfortunate death at the premises. Could the Minister please advise the Assembly what stage plans are at for the reopening of a sobering-up shelter in the ACT?
MR MOORE: Thank you, Mr Rugendyke, for the question. I have had a number of discussions with people in my department to determine what is the most effective way to deal with a sobering-up shelter to make sure that our liability issues are dealt with appropriately and, more importantly, that people who are in a sobering-up shelter will be safe. At this stage, I think that it would be best if I come back to you with a detailed answer on exactly where we are up to with that negotiation.
MR RUGENDYKE: As a quick supplementary question, I take it that you would agree that having a system to divert drunks from watch-houses is much more appropriate than the existing circumstances.
MR MOORE: Philosophically, Mr Rugendyke, I agree with you that, if somebody is drunk, we should be treating them with respect and trying to ensure that we get them through that stage safely and get them home. Of course, that was the idea of a sobering-up shelter, keep them away from the issue of law, not put police in an awkward and inappropriate position, and give them somewhere to go. It is something that I will put some effort into now and let you know how we are going with it.
Mr Speaker, considering that the house is due to rise tomorrow for the break over summer, I may take that answer back to Mr Rugendyke personally rather than taking it on notice in the normal way. If other members are interested in that answer, I am happy to provide them with it as well.